North Korea launches purported ‘space vehicle,’ South Korea says


North Korea on Wednesday local time launched a purported “space launch vehicle,” South Korea’s military said.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense also said “a possible ballistic missile” was launched from North Korea, which has been isolated from the rest of the world by sanctions.

Japan’s coast guard said Wednesday that the possible ballistic missile appears to have fallen, citing information from the country’s Defense Ministry, Japan’s national broadcaster NHK reported.

South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff office said shortly after 6:40 a.m. Wednesday that the North had “fired what is claims to be ‘space launch vehicle’ southward.”

TVs show a news flash about North Korea’s possible ballistic missile launch in Tokyo early Wednesday morning, local time.Kyodo News via AP

The launch comes after North Korea said Tuesday local time that it planned to launch what it said was a military spy satellite, which would be its first. A report about it from North Korea state media KCNA cited “the dangerous military acts of the U.S. and its vassal forces.”

North Korea is prohibited by United Nations sanctions from long-range and ballistic missile tests.

The country has repeatedly launched such missiles anyway, including in April when it said it tested a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time. The country has also conducted six nuclear tests.

North Korea and South Korea remain technically at a state of conflict, after the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

South Korea issued a text alert Wednesday morning telling residents in the Seoul area to prepare to evacuate, but the country’s Interior Ministry later said that was an error.

The Associated Press contributed.


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